DEWALT DCST920P1 20V MAX 5.0 Ah Lithium Ion XR Brushless String Trimmer

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The trimmer finally died… I suppose it was at least partially my fault as I did very little to care for it properly though on the other hand I’m not sure it ever functioned well. In any case, when I retrieved the trimmer from the shed and tried to crank it after several attempts I determined that it finally had given up. Gas was leaking out of the engine case.

I detached the trimmer attachment from the motor and tossed the motor. Perhaps some future yard sale shopper will benefit from the purchase of an inexpensive trimmer head along with a tiller and edger.

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Finding the Last Bottle in Tortuga – LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game for Nintendo 3DS

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The Short Version:
This appears to be a glitch. For some unknown reason the tenth bottle in the Tortuga level is only awarded for achieving “True Pirate” in Story Mode. 

Finding time to play any video game is a challenge these days but I did manage to pickup my Nintendo 3DS and work on finishing Disney’s LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean. The various LEGO games have many hidden items to be discovered.

I managed to find every red brick, medallion, and all but one bottle. After all of this effort I wanted to achieve 100% completion. After all, not only is it rare that I actually play a video game to the end but it’s extremely rare that I complete every side mission and find every collectible.

Fortunately, the game shows the player a count of the items that have yet to be discovered and which levels they are located in.

In this case I was lacking a bottle in the Tortuga level (level 1-2). Finding the bottle proved to be frustrating; after numerous re-visits I was unable to discover this one item.

I had noticed that on other levels, when one achieves “True Pirate” by collecting enough LEGO pieces (referred to as “studs”), that a bottle is awarded.

After collecting and activating various multipliers it was easy to achieve “True Pirate” in Free Play mode. Yet, I still lacked this bottle so I decided to replay the Tortuga level in Story Mode.

Surprisingly, when I hit “True Pirate” again I was awarded the missing tenth bottle. It was at that moment that I also achieved 100% completion.

Perhaps it was a random glitch or maybe it can occur within other levels. I was unable to find this information on the Web after numerous searches though I did find a post by someone else who was asking a question that indicated that this person experienced the same problem that I had.

It’s worth mentioning that the 3DS version appears to be very different from the versions made for the larger console systems such as Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The guides and walkthroughs describe level elements that don’t match up with the 3DS version.

Home Automation: “The dryer has finished drying your clothes.”

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While most of the things that I can do with my home automation setup are only of interest to myself on occasion I manage to add something that my wife also thinks is useful. This is one of them.

A while back I decided to add the ability for the home automation system to know when the washer has finished washing clothes and to make an announcement. This worked well though the module itself appears to have been damaged and is no longer communicating. Before that module failed I managed to find a way to sense when the dryer has finished. This was accomplished using an Aeon Labs Energy Reader that I purchased from Amazon.com (of course).

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The unit is a Z-Wave device with two clamps, which is typically intended to be used at a breaker box. It wouldn’t have been able to properly sense current flow if I had just placed the clamps around the power cable for the dryer; the clamps need to be over individual wires that are normally within the cable sheath. However, on my dryer the three wires are individually accessible for a few inches before they enter the main sheath and are then covered.

It was just a matter of placing the clamps around two of these cables. Fortunately, as with the washer, our dryer is low-tech and doesn’t draw any power while not in use so setting up the sensing thresholds in Indigo was relatively easy (actually easier than setting up the washer). Though the washer module is not currently working the dryer notifications still continue to work.

TaoTronics Bluetooth Transmitter

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Several months ago I decided to purchase a set of Bluetooth headphones so I could, on occasion, watch TV in the bedroom late at night without disturbing my wife. At one time I had a wireless headphones set that worked well for this purpose but they were simply very bulky (both the charging unit and the headphones themselves). I attempted to use a jail-broken iPod as well but I wasn’t satisfied with that either.


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The TV itself doesn’t support Bluetooth so I decided to purchasing a Bluetooth audio transmitter. In this case, one manufactured by TaoTronics, which is small and reliable. Overall the device is very good but there is a slight delay in the audio that is noticeable relative to the action on TV, especially with dialog, though I grew accustomed to it rather quickly.

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Using a Zubie Key: A Year in Review

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Almost a year ago I purchased a Zubie Key, which is a device that can be used to track the location, and monitor the status, of a vehicle through a vehicle’s OBD-II port. This device has a built-in cellular connection and requires a yearly subscription fee of about $100. My motivation at the time was to integrate it into my home automation setup, which I actually did by connecting it to the IFTTT service combined with text message notifications that my home automation software can receive and process.

A year later I am uncertain whether or not I will continue to pay for the service. Mind you, it is not bad and has lived up to my expectations. But with daycare and various other child-related costs I’m not sure that it’s worth (that suddenly more valuable amount of) $100.

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